The head of The Villages Republican Club has filed to run as a write-in candidate in the Sumter County Commission race.
Jerry Prince on Tuesday filed with the Sumter County Supervisor of Elections Office to run as a write-in the District 5 Commission race.
Last week, Prince announced that the Republican Club would be donating $15,000 to help the re-election efforts of the three incumbent commissioners – Don Burgess, Al Butler and Steve Printz.
Now Prince is launching a write-in effort in the same race in which Printz hopes to emerge victorious in the August GOP primary.
Other candidates who have filed to run against Printz are Villagers Oren Miller and Daniel Myslakowski. Both are running as Republicans.
Prince’s surprise move comes one day after Villager Pete Wahl filed to run as a write-in candidate against Burgess and his challenger, Villager Craig Estep.
The commission race has been a hot ticket as a result of a 25 percent tax increase that drew huge, angry crowds this past September at Savannah Center.
Challengers Estep, Miller and Myslakowski have all indicated they were motivated to run as a result of the tax increase. Village of Amelia resident Gary Search, who is challenging Butler, also has cited the tax increase as his reason for running.
The trio of incumbents are backed by the Developer of The Villages and the tax increase pushed through last year was seen as a sweetheart deal for the Morse family, as it pursues the expansion of Florida’s Friendliest Hometown south of State Road 44.
Burgess and Butler have each paid the $3,534 fee to be placed on the ballot, after their failure to collect the necessary number of voters’ signatures. Their opponents wrapped up the signature collection process earlier this year and did not need to pay the fee.
Prince earlier this year sent a desperate plea for voters – even Democrats – to sign petitions for the incumbents to get them on the ballot.